The European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) is a standardised form which acts as a self-declaration form at the initial selection stage, for firms tendering for contracts. It is for use by all European Union member states. In England and Scotland, the ESPD has changed to the SPD (single procurement document) and continues to be used, particularly in Scotland, instead of the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) document.
What is included in the ESPD?
Typically, the ESPD follows a standard public sector format, which makes it easier for buyers and suppliers alike. The European Commission issued a Commission Implementing Regulation on 5 January 2016, which provides instructions on the use of the ESPD, for example when it can be used, selection and exclusion criteria, and what information will be needed.
Paper versions of the ESPD were discontinued in 2018, with the document now fully electronic. It is likely that you will encounter the following sections in the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), a lot of which are yes/no responses for the bidder to self-certify or declare that they meet:
- Information about the bidder
- Grounds for exclusion
- Selection criteria
- Economic and financial standing
- Technical and professional ability
- Quality assurance.
The ESPD response can look onerous; however, it is mainly ticking the right boxes and ensuring that your organisation is compliant with the buyer’s requirements for bidding. As with any pre-qualification stage in a bidding process, it also exists to outline barriers to participation and to exclude those companies not suitable to bid. An authority may also ask about similar previous contract examples and references to assess your suitability, which will be specific to the contract you are bidding for and added to the generic questions.
Benefits of the ESPD
The ESPD form was introduced to streamline processes across borders for a number of procurement parties. Similar to a PQQ or Standard Selection Questionnaire document these both use a standardised question set which enables the buyer to quickly and efficiently assess competency and compliance with minimum criteria before assessing the rest of the submission – essentially it makes the process of compliance checks faster. The process also means that applicants only have to submit certificates upon notification of successful outcome, with most of the questions reliant on self-certification – reducing bidders’ admin time considerably.
As the bidder, it also streamlines your submission process (particularly when completing multiple bids) as portals now store ESPD information (following the first submission), and then prepopulate future ESPD documents. This is particularly true when bidding for a contract in Scotland using the PCS-Tender portal, as the portal will store your previous ESPD responses to then be used for other public contracts.
As a bidder, it should save you time as you don’t need to keep completing the same ESPD document over and over again and can reuse the form wherever relevant.
When is the ESPD used?
Like the traditional procurement exercise, the ESPD response can be used in a one- or two-stage process. So, the European Single Procurement Document may be used as a standalone first stage to qualify suitable bidders through to a second stage, the tender. Or it may be used in a one-stage process alongside the tender submission, which is also common if the authority is using the open process. There are pros and cons to each procedure; however, the one-stage process may remove some of the barriers associated in bidding.
Completing an ESPD
The ESPD document can seem difficult to complete, but it is mainly a compliance task, and your narrative responses and pricing elements are the heart of your tender submission. We have completed hundreds of ESPD and tender documents and can provide advice, support and writing services to help you to complete the European Single Procurement Document, and supporting documents, to successfully bid for contracts.
Contact our team at our Glasgow office today for more information on our ESPD service.
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